Same Universe, Different Lenses: Science, Ethics, and Religion in Dialogue
This is a transcript of an interview given by Dr. Jennifer Wiseman at The Faith Angle Forum Conference on Religion, Politics, & Public Life on November 5, 2013.
In this talk, originally delivered at the BioLogos President's Circle meeting in October 2012, Dr. John Walton discusses the origin stories of Genesis 1-3, and why their focus on function and archetypes mean there is no Biblical narrative of material origins.
When it came time to go to graduate school, one of Owen Gingerich's science professors told him “If you feel a calling to go to astronomy, you should give it a try, because we shouldn’t let atheists take over any particular field.”
In today's video, Brian McLaren discusses the value of considering Scripture in light of the cultures that surrounded them. The Biblical writers were aware of the myths of the power nations that surrounded them, but flipped their stories on their heads to reveal truth about God.
It is our sincere hope that, above all else, the film can become a focal point for some of the big questions that inevitably arise at the intersection of science and faith.
Brian Godawa looks at several aspects of ancient cosmography (descriptions of the universe) that also appear in the Bible, and what these aspects of the text mean for our understanding of Scripture.
To understand and apply Genesis 1 correctly, we have to consider issues of genre and intention. Too often these chapters are read as if they present a purely straightforward historical and even scientific account of cosmic and human origins.
In these two brief video Conversations, John Walton discusses the problem of trying to integrate ancient scripture with our modern worldview.
In this video, John Walton talks about ancient myth and how we might better understand it if we think about its intended functionality—that is, myths were a way to explain a culture’s origin and universal significance though they lacked the advances of scientific discovery.
In this video Conversation, N.T. Wright emphasizes the importance of understanding the context of biblical texts in order to know whether to read them as literal or metaphorical narratives.
"As a Christian and a biblical scholar, I care both about Scripture as truth and about the ongoing scholarly conversation regarding the composition of the Hebrew Scriptures. And so, when I was asked to speak on the story of creation in Genesis 1, I welcomed the opportunity to give my thoughts on the interaction between this text and its ancient Near Eastern context."
In this video conversation, Pete Enns sheds light on the key difference between the ancient and modern mind with regard to interpretation of texts. A literal understanding of Genesis from an ancient mindframe would not necessarily be the same as what we now think of as a literal reading.
In this video Conversation, N.T. Wright explores how the ancient Jewish audience read Genesis before and up to the time that Jesus arrived. He asserts that readers of Genesis today who focus simply on the number of days of creation and whether there is evidence in the text pointing to an old or new earth—are in effect not reading the complete text.
John Walton offers some important reminders in this video with regard to how we should approach a reading of the book of Genesis. While it is a text that is written for us—in the sense that it was written for all people in all times and places—it was not written to us.
The literary conventions employed in Genesis chapter 1 mark it out, not as a scientific document describing material origins, but as a theological polemic against surrounding ancient Near Eastern pagan religions. Creation language here and elsewhere in Scripture is not about establishing scientific origins of material substance and structure but about covenantal establishment and worldview.
Professor Denis Lamoureux presents the theory of evolutionary creation, which claims that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created the universe and life through an ordained, sustained, and design-reflecting evolutionary process. The view of origins, says Lamoureux, fully embraces both the religious beliefs of biblical Christianity and the scientific theories of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution.
NASA astronomer Jennifer Wiseman asserts that studying creation can show us the nature of God; science can inform us of what we need to do as stewards of God’s creation; understanding the natural world gives us a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ; and science can give us a better understanding of ourselves. This essay was presented at the November 2009 Theology of Celebration Workshop.